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“I could smell it and feel the heat and hear it crackling”: Gloucestershire firewalkers take on daring challenge for charity

More than 30 participants from in and around Gloucestershire took on the bizarre challenge of walking across fire as they raised funds for their chosen charities.

A 17th-century manor house hotel near Stroud was the perfect location for the enthralling event to take place.

“It was amazing, I really enjoyed it,” said Julie Smith from Stroud.

“I could smell it and feel the heat and hear it crackling, but not over the cheers of everyone else. It was brilliant.”

Karen Sterling, the Blaze Firewalking expert, has three decades of experience hosting fire walk events for charity fundraisers up and down the country.

The professional firewalker has helped participants raise a substantial amount of money for thousands of different charity organisations over the years.

“Next year is Blaze’s 40th anniversary since their first ever fundraising firewalk,” said Sterling.

“I haven’t been firewalking as long as Blaze. This is only my 30th year,” she said jokingly.

Sterling held Blaze’s most recent event at the Stonehouse Court Hotel in Gloucestershire, where the charities Allsorts Gloucestershire, Stroud Valleys Project and The Door Stroud were in attendance.

“I always walk first, I would never expect anyone to do something that I’m not prepared to do myself. I need to make sure everything is safe.”

The former intensive care nurse uses all of her previous skills from her career in the NHS to ensure that these events are as safe as they possibly can be.

“I’m actively looking for hot spots that could burn toes or nip things, anything that could potentially harm anyone.

“We have been doing this long enough, we know what we are doing.”

The veteran spoke about how she first got into the extreme sport.

“Somebody said to me once upon a time that there was a fire walk going on in Glasgow, and did I know anything about it. On my turf?”

Fast forward to today, and the Glaswegian has provided over 2,600 fire-walking events since the mid-1990s.

Sterling has many more events planned, and future fire walk details can be found on its website at

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